I'm always up for a novella. They're short, to the point, and hey, if they're awful, well, you don't have to worry about them being awful for long, right? This one seemed like it had a lot of promise - fallen angel escaping from Hell, conflicted, POC heroine, soul-murders - what about that doesn't sound awesome? I was pleasantly surprised to find that...well, yeah, I actually enjoyed this story quite a bit.
"Enjoy". Ha, what a foreign concept. But I did! I'm pleased to have won this from LibraryThing, it was a quick read, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future installments/works from the author.
That being said, as much as I ~enjoyed~ it (ha! so weird!), Don't Call Me Angel is by no means a flawless book. In fact, it has more than a few plot holes and eyebrow-raisers...
First things first, the summary is a tad misleading. While factually accurate, it makes the story sound more plot-based and crime thriller-y than it really is. DCMA doesn't really have a "plot", exactly. No particular storyline is really built up or polished, it just follows Six through her first few days in the human world, as she adjusts to Earth and deals with some loose ends left over from her escape from hell.
There's not a lot of world exposition or relationship development. No long-winded histories of the world or characters; we're given just enough information to justify the action that's occurring, but I'm okay with that. I tend to enjoy books that just sort of drop you in more than ones that wallow in exposition. I understood what I needed to, I believed most of it, and I expect the revelations regarding what occurred during Six's time in Hell, and the reason she was cast in to Hell in the first place, to develop over the course of the series, so I wasn't put out by the lack of explanation.
That being said, that we aren't given a whole lot of info outside what's needed to justify the action does make some of the events just a tad convenient, and lacking in tension. Like, apparently it's totally possible to literally claw your way out of Hell, through dirt and rock, so long as someone else has gone through before you. You'd think Hell would have, IDK, some sort of safeguard against that. Likewise, apparently you can accrue a debt big enough to justify letting two escapees through the gates of Purgatory, in to the human world. Who knew?
But then, there is an entire underground in Atlanta consisting of escaped monsters, angels, and demons, so I suppose it's fair enough that getting out isn't really that difficult.
Similarly, while I like what description of Hell we got, the lack of information we have as to what Six actually experienced there does lessen the impact of the transition to earth for the reader. Sure, Six seems happy to have escaped, but aside from a few references to being free of the smell of blood and burning flesh, she might as well have just escaped from, well, anywhere. There's not a lot of sense of horror to contrast Six's sense of freedom with, and you'd think someone who'd spent centuries in Hell would find more appealing things than being able to stretch out her wings all the way. Like, I dunno, not being subjected to daily torture or something. Alden mentions she was sheltered somewhat, but there have to be more horrible things about daily life in Hell than perpetual dark and the smell.
I bought most everything else - as an enemy, I thought Alden worked nicely as a developing foil for Six. Thought his carving wings into his vics would be more of a thing, as far as attracting attention from the authorities, though. I mean, why else bother including that detail?
Some of these, I think, would be bigger issues if this were a fully-fleged novel, but in a 90-page novella, I can ignore them. That being said, there were a few things that I really couldn't.
So, Six escapes, gets ported to Atlanta, walks the streets naked and winged and nobody calls the cops. Okay, fine. She sleeps in an alleyway, naked, on top of a pile of bloody, cut-off wings and feathers, and nobody notices, says anything, or calls the cops. Okay, maybe. But then she's finally approached by a human, falls down into said pile of blood and severed wings, and because she can't get out of it and back on her feet, and the human...laughs? LOL WUT?
Read full review at You're Killing.Us